Copyright © 2020, Haris Mulaosmanovic, licensed via EyeEm Mobile GmbH

Corona Pass in Flanders by 11 July?

Flemish health minister Beke (Christian democrat) has revealed that the Flemish government is considering the introduction of a system of corona passes.  The pass will allow the vaccinated and people with a recent negative coronavirus test to do more than others who have not, e.g. go down the pub or see a movie at the cinema.

Denmark has already introduced such a system and the Germans are preparing one too. Flemish health minister Beke supports the idea: “When everybody has had the opportunity to get the jab, we should dare to return the liberties that we have taken away from people”.

Mr Beke believes introducing the pass, which could be in the form of a smartphone app, is feasible by 11 July, the Flemish national holiday, when all 18-year-olds will have been offered the jab.

The system can only be introduced after all adults have been offered the vaccine and there is an alternative for people who can’t be immunised. Belgium’s corona commissioner Pedro Facon also supports the idea. 

Several legal experts note that a corona pass violates anti-discrimination legislation. Equal opportunities centre Unia shares this view.  Discrimination expert Dominique De Meyst believes there are less invasive ways of returning people’s liberties without discriminating against certain groups. De Meyst suggests the vaccination campaign isn’t reaching everybody and that this too argues against the pass: “There’s a mental gap, a digital gap.  There are people with religious and philosophical views on vaccines.”

Unia says it’s ‘problematic’ if these people would be excluded from certain goods and services e.g. bank services, insurance and housing.

De Meyst believes there will always be constitutional objections to such a system: “Legally speaking it would be more correct to make vaccination obligatory. Changes to the law will be needed anyway.  At the moment restaurant and cinema owners can’t legally refuse entry to members of the public.”

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